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News: OFC says planned national dialogue futile, asks for comprehensive transition, including armed groups

Professor Merera Gudina, Chairman of OFC

By Addis Standard Staff 

Addis Standard, October 25/2021 – Today in a statement addressing the call by the federal government for an inclusive national dialogue , the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) set pre-conditions for its participation in the dialogue and said that refusal or failure to meet its conditions would render its participation futile.

The OFC recalled the last three years’ events before accusing the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) of increasing its intimidation of its members in the backdrop of its call for national dialogue in the backdrop of the outbreak of the war in Tigray.  

The statement read, “When the country’s worsening political crises led to the breaking out of war in Tigray, OFC once again called upon the warring parties to end hostilities and sit down for a negotiated settlement of the dispute. However, the ruling party and its supporters responded with an adverse media campaign aimed at ostracizing and intimidating our party.” 


However, the ruling party and its supporters responded with an adverse media campaign aimed at ostracizing and intimidating our party.” 

OFC

While dismissing the June 2021 elections as a ‘sham’, the party discussed its efforts to engage with the ruling PP after its conclusion, “Just recently, at the conclusion of the 2021 election that failed to deliver both durable peace and democratic governance for the country, OFC made its position to the ruling party in a form of a press release titled “An election that is not fair and not inclusive cannot deliver democracy”, and once again called for an all-inclusive national dialogue that can lead to an all-inclusive transitional arrangement that can have a mandate to chart a common roadmap that can in turn lead to a stable an all-inclusive government.” 

While Discussing the proposed national dialogue the party went on to set the end of armed conflicts, the inclusion of armed forces,  and the release of all political prisoners as preconditions to its participation in the proposed national dialogue.

The party insisted on the use of external mediators, arguing that in the absence of a credible internal mediator, the statement read, “The national dialogue needs to be convened by an impartial and credible external body acceptable to all parties, recognized and supported by the international community. Here, it also must be noted that given the present political situation of the country, it is difficult to find a credible domestic entity that is impartial and acceptable to all parties.” 


“The national dialogue needs to be convened by an impartial and credible external body acceptable to all parties, recognized and supported by the international community.

OFC

The party furthermore blamed the current crisis on what it described as ‘trust deficit’ among the ruling elite while calling the current proposed dialogue non inclusive. The statement read, “It is OFC’s assessment that trust deficit among elites is one of the major contributors to the current crisis and a non-inclusive gathering in the name of national dialogue convened by partisan entities could only serve to further erode trust making the ability to solve conflict through dialogue impossible even in the future.”

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The statement concluded by stating the party’s position on the current proposed national dialogue and arguing that its participation without the dialogue meeting ‘minimal standards would be futile. 

The statement read, “Although OFC has been at the forefront of calling for a genuine national dialogue, unless the process meets these minimal standards, once again, we strongly feel this half-hearted process would make our participation meaningless and the whole exercise futile. OFC cordially calls for all Ethiopians and the international communities to support our effort.”  AS

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